Oscar History

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11 Days Til Oscar. Bette Midler & Original Song

Bright and early this morning they announced that Bette Midler will be performing at the Oscars for the first time. That's shocking to type since she's had so many great movie musical moments in her career and she's obviously been to the Oscars as a nominee or to present. But, alas, her material was generally not original* and thus unnominated in the one category that regularly prompts performances.

Though it seems highly likely that they'll have her as underscore songstress for the In Memoriam visuals (zzz. Love that segment but it's never about the singer so they're interchangeable... something you can't usually say for Bette Midler) It's more fun to fantasize about recreating one of her musical moments from a movie on the main stage. So... vote!




* A Shocking Memory
Yes, it's true. The classic "The Rose" from The Rose (1979), written by Amanda McBroom, was NOT nominated for Best Original Song even after winning the Golden Globe. It was not expressly written for the movie though it had never been recorded before that point -- the same tragic reasons for disqualifications as Moulin Rouge!'s "Come What May". That category has been fucking us over for decades - this year's controversy was the least of it, really. The ideal song line up for 1979, an unusually good year for the category, would have probably would have been some combination of the two lists since the Oscar winner "It Goes Like It Goes" from Norma Rae, unnominated at the Globes, is also lovely.

But when you remember that "The Rainbow Connection" was nominated at both awards shows and lost twice, the point becomes moot. Truth: that eternal classic deserved multiple Oscars. An Oscar for 1979 and then an Oscar for every random year thereafter that failed to produce a worthy nominee. As an encore, you know? 


What would you have voted for?

I hope you've been enjoying the Countdown to Oscar! We're having so much fun with it so please check out any episodes you missed. Remember this truth: Comments are fuel for more blogging. 

12 Days - A twelve-wide Best Picture field!!! What does 1934 tell us about "Oscar slots"? 
13 Days - Matthew McConaughey and 2000's Best Actress Race?
14 Days - All About Eve vs. Titanic. The two all time nomination leaders face off!
15 Days - Supporting Oscar Chart fun "how were they nominated?"
16 Days - Irene Sharaff's 16 nominations 
17 Days - Looking back at The English Patient, Sal Mineo... and 1917?
18 Days - Meryl Streep's 18th nomination. Like whoa
19 Days - Julianne Moore's awards history
20 Days - Flashback '93: Age of Innocence, Farewell My Concubine, The Piano
21 Days - What's your favorite Billy Wilder? 

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Reader Comments (21)

I love The Rose but It Goes Like It Goes still haunts me to this day. I listen to it quite a lot despite not having watched Norma Rae in years. It feels like a cinematic moment as much as a musical one.

February 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterZV

the 1979 oscars were my first and i was so annoyed the rainbow connection didn't win; on the other hand, excellent preparation for decades of disappointment to come...

February 19, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterpar

I find "it goes like it goes" to be extraordinary as a song & as a perfect compliment to this wonderful, unforgettable movie. tough year.....but i am with the oscar winner. i also love rainbow connection & the rose. how funny the golden globes nominated "Better than ever" - candice bergen!!!! how hysterical was that? and "The main event" - a horrible movie / horrible 70's weet weet disco song. oscar choices were so much better. "Through the eyes of Love" - another good song....first song at my wedding reception in october, 1983! Please dont let this feeling end....

February 19, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjimmy

I think that's exactly what happened with "Wind Beneath My Wings" and "I Don't Wanna Fight", which we recently discussed. It sucks.

The First Wives Club presented Best Original Song back in '96 (with Midler mocking Madonna's live performance). It's a shame they missed the opportunity to recreate the fabulous "You Don't Own Me". Silly producers!

I am die-hard fan of the Divine Miss M. so I would totally vote for "The Rose".

February 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

OMG Nat, I love all these options, especially your idea for "Stuff Like That There." But I had to vote for "The Rose" because...well, because.

I wish Bette would get another great role sometime, but I doubt it will happen. She could've gotten all those Emmy/Golden Globe/SAG nominations Helen Mirren got for that "Phil Spector" movie but she had to drop out due to back problems (if I remember correctly). And then not even a Tony nom for her recent Broadway return.

February 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

"I've Still Got My Health" during the In Memoriam segment is a really good call. I salute you.

February 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

I didn't vote because the number I want to see recreated is "When a Man loves a Woman" from The Rose. Doesn't even have to connect to anything in the show. Just bring her on and let her sing.

February 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

My best is that she performs during the In Memorium sequence. "Did I ever tell you you're my HERO, and everything I would like to be." Takes me back to my elementary school talent shows, when a group of sixth-graders would always sing this song to their teachers. Very 90s, and not the kind of 90s I would like to repeat.

February 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDusty

Damn, that is a great lineup. I'm partial to It's Easy to Say, because Julie Andrews sang it in 10, and it was performed by my all time favorite singer, Helen Reddy, at the Oscars. Helen sang it with Dudley Moore, who sounded pretty awful. Paul Williams, writer of The Rainbow Connection, coincidentally wrote many songs for Helen. I also love Through the Eyes of Love--Melissa Manchester's version.

It's ironic that Bette didn't get to perform The Rose at the 79 Oscars, and Helen did get to sing. This eerily echoes a clash early in their recording careers, when both recorded Delta Dawn as a single, but only Helen's became the hit and Bette had to settle for Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy as her radio song.

February 19, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

I'd find it very hard to choose between 'Through the Eyes of Love' and 'The Rainbow Connection'. I adore them both. Maybe Best Original Song to 'Through the Eyes of Love', and give The Muppet Movie Best Song Score (which does involve taking one Oscar away from All That Jazz, which I hate to do, but I like to think that Bob Fosse would have been OK with conceding one to Kermit!).

February 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

I've been waiting for this year's Best Song category to come up...my favorite (other than "The Rose," of course) was from "Chapter Two," (Marsha Marsha Marsha) a little known song that played just before the credits began to roll: "I'm On Your Side," sung by everyone's best Solid Gold hostess and 5th Dimension singer, Marilyn McCoo. Unfortunately the soundtrack was never released, nor was the single ever made available commercially. And it is still not available. Thank you Youtube gods.

February 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPatryk

Patryk, that's a sweet song. Ah, Marsha Mason in Chapter Two...what a terrific performance.

February 19, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Watching the Ice Skating at the Winter Olympics I was thinking of Ice Castles and how much I love that movie and that song. But I also love "Rainbow Connection". And the song from Norma Rae is wonderful! And of course "The Rose"...What a great year.

February 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoanne

I think Bette will be singing during In Memoriam segment. actually I hope so, because I wouldn't want to watch another boring 20 minutes of singing or I don't know how long that celebration of 21th century musicals was last year.

February 19, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrace

My Best Song devastation will always be that 'Part of Your World' - my No.1 fave film song - was not even nominated, sob sob sob :-(

February 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChrisD

Ah. I wish Bette had an Oscar ;(. I still think she should've won for The Rose even if Norma Rae was a thing. Oh well.

I wish she still had a chance at Oscar but I obviously don't see that happening at this point unless she gets a really good supporting role or something.

I heard she's supposed to play Mae West in a HBO movie, but ehhh... who cares about The Divine Miss M playing someone else? Isn't what's special about her, well, *her*?

Anyway, back on topic: I'm glad she's performing at the Oscars, I'm excited. And I would've voted for The Rose (if you couldn't guess from the rest of my post :p).

February 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

Rainbow Connection would always be my choice but there's another song I remember from that year called Always Look on the Bright Side of Life from Monty Python's Life Of Brian. Never forget the multiple crosses scene and the whistling!

February 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJans

Jan -- omg that song is great too. what a year for Original Songs.

February 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Just remembered that this years theme is a salute to heroes so certainly she'll be singing Wind Beneath My Wings.

February 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJonn

I voted for The Rose, but dammit, the You don't own me-TFWC reunion would be just awesome!!!

February 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSonja

Better than ever...The best !and if they had Candice Bergen perform it. Instant Oscar moment classic!

February 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDO

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